Hamburg WTS 2016

This year, I raced twice in Hamburg: once in the individual event and once in the Mixed Team Relay (MTR). The highlight was the MTR where Team USA won the 2016 World Championship title. I swam 300m, biked 6.6km, and ran 1.6km before tagging off to teammate Ben Kanute, who was followed by Kirsten Kasper and Joe Maloy. It was Team USA’s first victory in the MTR and an absolute blast to compete in. It is short, fast and very difficult (especially with tired legs from racing the day before in the individual event). It is a day I will never forget because of the pride I felt being a part of Team USA.

The MTR was extra special after my third place result in the individual event. After tasting victory in Hamburg the past two years, third place feels like defeat. Hamburg is always a difficult race for me – it is a sprint, while my specialty is Olympic distance. In 2013, I had one of the worst races of my career in Hamburg when I came out of the water almost last. During my winning streak, the two WTS races in Hamburg were my toughest feats and shortest winning margins (less than 10 seconds each).

Leading into Hamburg the Wizards were in the middle of a Rio training block. Smashed legs and struggles getting out of bed were common. Hamburg was on the backburner and two weeks before the race, I had doubts. I told Jamie, “We haven’t done Hamburg prep and we know what happened last time I didn’t do specific prep for a race.” I began to calm down after a small chat with Coach and realized my fitness was on point. Part of being a professional is being able to stand up and perform under any circumstance.

The week of Hamburg was much needed, as training lessened my mind and body recovered. I’m gutted I didn’t win, but I’m glad the win was kept in the USA family. Katie Zaferes got her first WTS win – this is a huge accomplishment. She swam and biked like a rockstar and finished it off with stellar run. It was an incredible race and one she should be super proud of – congrats, Katie!

I allowed myself to be upset for a day and did an analysis: Hamburg is a rough swim with the first swim buoy within the first three minutes of the gun going off. I found myself pulled back and pushed down, but I know everyone deals with this on race day - we all had the same conditions! I exited the water knowing I wasn’t in top position and fought hard the first lap of the bike to try to close the gap, but failed.

On the bike, I saw a few close calls of people almost crashing. My mind and body switched to protection mode. Six weeks out from the biggest race of my life, I started to play defense. I knew coming into transition, I needed to be on the front, but chose to be cautious and safe, entering T2 almost last. Finishing in third after my mistakes was disappointing, but deserved for the way I raced.

I’m now back in Vitoria Gasteiz where I am back on track for the one race I’ve been focusing on for the past four years: Rio!

Thank you for your continued support. The next few weeks will be difficult both physically and mentally but I am prepared and ready for the work.

Special thanks to Specialized’s mechanic Sandy Gilchrist for looking after my bike, Jamie for his patience, and USAT for the continued support. Thank you as well to Ben Cummings and the Columbia Threadneedle Team for making it a great weekend. I will never forget the MTR win and I really hope it becomes an Olympic event in Tokyo 2020! 

 Mixed Team Relay World Champions. Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes 

Mixed Team Relay World Champions. Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes 

 Pre race swim.  Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes 

Pre race swim.  Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes 

 I love having the Wizards as friends. Photo thanks to  Viviane Sloniewicz

I love having the Wizards as friends. Photo thanks to Viviane Sloniewicz

 Riding in Hamburg. Photo thanks to  Viviane Sloniewicz

Riding in Hamburg. Photo thanks to Viviane Sloniewicz

 This is Sandy, who has been working on my bikes for the past four years. He always makes sure it is race ready! Photo thanks to Etienne VanRensburg

This is Sandy, who has been working on my bikes for the past four years. He always makes sure it is race ready! Photo thanks to Etienne VanRensburg

 Photo thanks to Etienne VanRensburg

Photo thanks to Etienne VanRensburg

 Thanks for driving five hours to watch me compete Stephanie and E rik de Groot. Thank you for the treats too!

Thanks for driving five hours to watch me compete Stephanie and Erik de Groot. Thank you for the treats too!

 Special treats from friends and fans :) I'm one lucky lady!  

Special treats from friends and fans :) I'm one lucky lady!  

 An epic race by Ben put team USA in a commanding lead. Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes

An epic race by Ben put team USA in a commanding lead. Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes

 A day I will never forget. Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes

A day I will never forget. Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes

 Thank you Sandy for always looking after my bike.  

Thank you Sandy for always looking after my bike.  

 First night in Germany we ate German food

First night in Germany we ate German food

 Post race Spaetzle  with my love and number one supporter. He's there for me through it all no matter the outcomes. I love you so much Patrick!

Post race Spaetzle  with my love and number one supporter. He's there for me through it all no matter the outcomes. I love you so much Patrick!

 This is what I ate the night before the race. Patrick cooked it in our hotel room 👌 

This is what I ate the night before the race. Patrick cooked it in our hotel room 👌 

Leeds WTS 2016

Leeds was a first-time event. All I knew about the course was that there was a split transition (transition one was at the lake, and transition two was in town with about 14km separating them) and that the Brownlee brothers designed the course, so I wasn’t surprised to find it a difficult, yet fun venue.

With the split transition, I was worried about getting my warm up done in time; however, the ITU made it easy for the elites to get ourselves and our equipment to and from the lake (where I did my normal warm up of efforts on the bike, a short run, and swim bands). In the race I managed to bike my way into fourth after exiting the water in the back of the first pack, but this was not good enough to make the first bike split.

Flora Duffy, Lucy Hall, and Jessica Learmonth were riding at the front, and I was riding solo behind them on the 14km trek into town. Flora was pushing the pace and the three gained time on me as I was caught by Emma Moffatt and Vicky Holland. A few kilometers later, we were caught by another chase pack before we entered town. I enjoyed the seven technical bike laps around Leeds; they were fast, fun, and challenging. 

I entered transition about 1:30 behind the three leaders (Flora, Lucy, Jessica), racked my bike, and as I put my Evade helmet in my box, my Oakley Radar sunglasses slipped off my head and into the box as well. In a rush, knowing that every second would count, I started the run without my Radars. I was unsure of what the outcome would be, but was confident I could focus on running my own race. On the third lap (of four), I caught Flora and crossed the finish line first.

The theme of Leeds was getting comfortable with new things: it was a new course, I was in a new city, and I had a new custom Specialized Amira designed with Columbia Threadneedle (if you haven't seen images you must check out this link). It’s my favorite design and so incredibly pretty! I had new Oakley sunglasses to match the bike and a new Evade helmet designed by Red Bull (if you look closely, you can see Bucky Badger's eyes focusing on the road ahead). I wore a new Roka swimsuit, lined with special material to keep me warm. As an athlete, I’m resistant to change, but everything new was so exciting this time around. The complete bike with custom HED wheels to match will be auctioned off later this year for charity, so keep an eye out for that!

We usually race in big cities (London, Chicago, Hamburg, Sydney, etc.), but I prefer racing in smaller towns like Leeds, where it’s easier to train and the traffic isn’t a challenge. What really made Leeds a success was how the city welcomed the athletes, with billboard-sized pictures of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Non Stanford, and Vicky Holland. Thanks to all the great publicity, spectators lined the fences three-deep to cheer on their favorite triathletes and the awards ceremony was standing-room only—an atmosphere I haven't experienced since competing in the London Olympic Games. After the race, my hotel left champagne and some local favorites (tea, chocolate, and soap) as a congrats for winning. Thank you Leeds for welcoming all the triathletes.

After the race, Patrick and I flew to Norway where we took a mini break. Every year in the middle of the season, I take a few days to relax, recharge, and get away from triathlon. We did an amazing drive around Norway, immersed ourselves in fjords, mountains, and glacial lakes, and enjoyed the beauty of Norway and they delicious seafood. Also, I now have a new favorite food: brown cheese.

I'm now back in Vitoria Gasteiz to start the big push to Rio, with Hamburg as the only race in between.

 

 Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

 Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

 Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

 Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

Photo taken by Russ Ellis, @cyclingimages

 Podium shot. Congrats to Flora and Vicky.

Podium shot. Congrats to Flora and Vicky.

 One of the new times I was on the front  

One of the new times I was on the front  

 What a wonderful gift from the hotel!  

What a wonderful gift from the hotel!  

 Photo thanks to Specialized

Photo thanks to Specialized

 In Norway with Patrick. 

In Norway with Patrick. 

 Going for a hike in Norway  

Going for a hike in Norway  

 Seven sisters waterfall

Seven sisters waterfall

 Can you spot Patrick and me? 

Can you spot Patrick and me? 

 Lots of delicious fish soup in Norway

Lots of delicious fish soup in Norway

 Went on a bike ride our final day in Norway  

Went on a bike ride our final day in Norway  

 This may look cold but it was actually the warmest part of our 300km road trip in Norway.  

This may look cold but it was actually the warmest part of our 300km road trip in Norway.  

 Norway  

Norway  

 My favorite way to eat brown cheese: stuffed inside pancakes  

My favorite way to eat brown cheese: stuffed inside pancakes  

 Pre race ride with some supporters. Thanks for your help Ivan and Patrick. 

Pre race ride with some supporters. Thanks for your help Ivan and Patrick. 

 Post race with Patrick all smiles after a win. 

Post race with Patrick all smiles after a win. 

 Mom won't like this photo if she spots me  

Mom won't like this photo if she spots me  

 Troll road

Troll road

 Perfect way to recharge and refresh in Norway. 

Perfect way to recharge and refresh in Norway. 

Custom Columbia Threadneedle Specialized Amira

 

Jorgensen’s Unique Bike for Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

 

Vitoria-Gasteiz Basque Country, Spain – Two-time ITU Triathlon World Champion and 2016 Rio Olympic Qualifier Gwen Jorgensen (USA) has unveiled her bespoke Specialized Amira ahead of the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds (11-12 June 2016).

In conjunction with industry leader Specialized and Columbia Threadneedle Investments, title sponsor in Leeds and global partner of the ITU World Triathlon Series, Jorgensen’s team has worked for months to create an iconic bike which Jorgensen hopes will captivate fans and ensure a memorable race experience.

Jorgensen’s custom-painted Specialized Amira, a one-of-a-kind design, will be unveiled and ridden on the city centre course in front of thousands of spectators there to watch the world’s best triathletes.

Following the elite women’s race which starts at 13.06 on Sunday 12 June, the bike will be on display in Millennium Square for fans to take photos as the men’s race sweeps through Leeds from 15.45.

“I am very excited to showcase my new custom Amira at the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds,” said Jorgensen. “I loved teaming up with my partners on this project. The bike is absolutely beautiful and I look forward to putting it up for charity auction later this year.  Columbia Threadneedle, Specialized, HED, and Shimano truly outdid themselves with this one. I cannot wait to see everyone's reaction to it!” 

The bike will feature HED Stinger 3 wheels, SRM cranks and a Shimano Di2 groupset. The Amira has been Jorgensen’s choice ride since 2012 because of its lightweight carbon frame, tapered head tube and responsive handling. Much like Jorgensen, this frame should be admired yet feared for its excellent performance capabilities.

Jorgensen added, “Columbia Threadneedle has been a tremendous asset to the World Triathlon Series and the event in Leeds promises to be one of the highlights of the season.”

Jorgensen takes the notion of giving back to her sport very seriously.  In 2014 she established the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship and continues to seek out ways to partner with brands who share her vision.

Rupert Pybus, Global Head of Marketing, Columbia Threadneedle Investments said: “We are delighted that Gwen will be riding this special bike in what we hope will be a very special race for the world’s best triathletes, triathlon fans and the local community. Spectators will be able to see the bike in Millennium Square after the race.”

All photos are provided by Felix Sanchez Arrazola (twitter: @fotorunners)

Below is a slideshow of additional pictures of the bike in higher resolution (which may take a longer time to load). Photos thanks to Félix Sánchez Arrazola, Twitter: @fotorunners